Six in 10 Americans are willing to receive COVID-19 vaccinations - Gallup

The willingness of Americans to accept an approved vaccination has positively improved since Pfizer/BioNTech SE and Moderna made announcements regarding their positive large-scale trials.

Hadassah-University Medical Center's Prof. Yossi Karko (left) and Hannah Drori, chief of the hospital’s clinical research center, administer Brilife vaccine to a volunteer (photo credit: HADASSAH)
Hadassah-University Medical Center's Prof. Yossi Karko (left) and Hannah Drori, chief of the hospital’s clinical research center, administer Brilife vaccine to a volunteer
(photo credit: HADASSAH)
Almost six in 10 (58%) United States citizens would agree to get vaccinated for COVID-19 if an FDA-approved immunization was available today at no cost, according to a recent Gallup poll.
The willingness of Americans to accept an approved vaccination has positively improved since Pfizer/BioNTech SE and Moderna made announcements that both of their vaccine candidates surpassed the efficacy benchmarks set out by researchers for their respective studies – raising the percentage of Americans approving by 8% from Gallup's earlier poll in September, which showed that only half of Americans were willing to receive an inoculation.
Pfizer and German partner BioNTech SE reported final trial results that showed the vaccine was 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 with no major safety concerns. Moderna has said its experimental vaccine is 94.5% effective, based on interim data from a late-stage clinical trial, becoming the second developer to report results that far exceeded expectations after Pfizer and BioNTech.
AstraZeneca said on Monday that its vaccine for the novel coronavirus, developed along with the University of Oxford, could be around 90% effective using a single-dose regimen - making it the third company or partnership to announce its success.
The most recent Gallup poll took place between October 19 and November 1, when the US was reporting close to 100,000 new cases of coronavirus and over 1,000 deaths daily. The situation has not improved, as America leads the world in the daily average number of new deaths reported, accounting for one in every 12 deaths reported daily worldwide, and has reported over 100,000 new cases daily since November 8 with the number increasing in each report. 

WHILE THE prospect of effective vaccines has brought new hope to a pandemic-weary nation, public distrust of inoculations runs high. However, the positive change in willingness to receive a vaccine has improved enough to land "those for" in the majority, and has been on a positive slope since July, where only 34% were willing to be vaccinated. The 42% who still refuse will be an issue for the US government in achieving public compliance with regard to vaccine recommendations, and could provide a myriad of public health issues down the line.
By group, 69% of Democrats say that they will accept and receive a COVID-19 vaccine if one was available today, compared to just 53% who claimed they would in September - showing a significant positive change for those within the party. 
However, Republicans remain unwavered by the recent announcements, and have remained stagnant, with roughly half refusing to be inoculated if given the opportunity.
Although Democrats and Republicans were within four percentage points of one another back in September - which Gallup believes could be caused by "worries that a vaccine would be rushed out prior to the presidential election, without adequate clinical testing to ensure its safety" - the more recent numbers are more indicative of the separation within the country, as Republicans have been consistently less likely to get a vaccine since Gallup first raised the issue in July.
They both do share the belief, however, that the timeline is rushed, with 26% of Republicans reporting that as their reasoning for refusal.
Distrust runs high within the Republican Party, with one in five sharing their skepticism of vaccines in general, compared to 2% of Democrats and 14% of independents.

GALLUP SHARED another highlighted increase, that being in adults aged 45-64. In September, only 36% of this age group were willing to get vaccinated. In the most recent poll, that number jumped up to 49% although the group still remains the least likely to get vaccinated.
There were also 10 percentage-point increases reported among women and those without a college degree. However, men are still more likely to get vaccinated with 61% reporting they would do so, compared to 54% of women. In September those numbers stood at 56% and 44%, respectively.
With regard to people's reasoning behind the decision not to get vaccinated, some 37% of Americans claim it's due to the rushed timeline – not necessarily being able to trust the product that will be released. Another 26% want to confirm that the vaccine is safe, essentially using the first wave of those inoculated as unofficial guinea pigs. Some 12% don't trust vaccines in general and 10% would like to study its efficacy before taking it themselves. Some 15% cite miscellaneous reasoning, some claiming its been politicized which compromises its safety and others categorically stating it's not necessary.
"Even before the announcements made by Pfizer and BioNTech on November 9 and by Moderna on November 16 about the development of [their] highly effective vaccines for COVID-19, Americans were already more willing to get a vaccine than they were in September. The recent increase is primarily due to a jump in willingness among Democrats," Gallup said in its analysis. "However, Americans overall are still less likely than they were earlier this year to say they'd get a COVID-19 vaccine.
"Four in 10 remain unwilling to get a vaccine, indicating public health officials face an uphill climb in convincing a good share of the public to do so," it added. "A longer period of development and clinical testing may help to address three of the four most common reasons for hesitancy among those who are unwilling. However, convincing the 12% of Americans who refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccine due to a general distrust of vaccines may prove more difficult."
Based on research, Gallup estimates that if the vaccine has a 2021 release date and holds FDA approval, health and government officials will have a better chance of convincing more Americans to follow vaccine recommendations.

Reuters contributed to this report.